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In The Kitchen: Lamb Chili


If you follow my Twitter feed, you've already heard a bit about this. Last weekend, I decided to take my cooking urges to new, improvised places. I was struck with the idea of making lamb chili with very little idea of how it would come out, but thinking that lamby flavors would make for a great meal in this chilly weather.

See the hows and wherefores after the jump.


I put out the bat signal and got some tips from ultrateg and kathrynyu on spices to work with and started from there.

Focusing on smoky ingredients, I chose paprika and some smoked peppers from North Carolina. I kept the spice going with a couple habaƱeros from the garden and a bit of mombosa from Reading Terminal Market in Philly. I bought that spice years ago, but it still scorches my tongue when I dab a bit on to make sure it's still fresh.

_MG_7095 - Version 2

I used a mix of red, white and black beans, soaked for hours, but not overnight.


I started with a boneless lamb shoulder that I cut up into chunks. I'm sure it would have made a good roast, but this was much more interesting to me.


After grinding up the seasoning, I tossed the lamb in it and browned it on the cast iron along with some onions and garlic. I'm still torn about whether this was the right order. Had I waited to season it until after browning it, the chunks would have crisped more and added another dimension. As it was, it turned out not to be an issue.

I started cooking this in the slow cooker, but suddenly found myself behind schedule. After a couple hours of cooking at a low heat, I switched it up and transferred the food into the pressure cooker minus some excess liquid. This turned out to be very useful as the finished product benefited from a few splashes of the liquid after it was all said and done.


Pressure cookers tend to be a mystery to many, but here's a tip: the pot does its job quickly. 15 minutes is plenty of time for just about anything. The meat, the beans and everything else broke down into shredded bits after 25.

The result wasn't the chunky chili I had envisioned, but the flavors came together very well, if slightly spicier than expected. The peppers from the garden disintegrated into the blend leaving patches of sudden heat here and there.

I balanced the spice by serving the chili on rice and by added dollops of goat cheese into the final serving. The cheese particularly cooled each bite, which allowed lingering over the dish longer.


Something about the shredded lamb and more broken down sauce makes me think this could make an interesting sandwich of sorts. Something between a sloppy joe and pulled pork barbecue.

Although, anything with goat cheese melted into the bowl makes me genuinely happy.

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